Legal Services in the News


11/21/20: $20,000 in credit card debt and a negative bank account: The cost of one woman’s wait for unemployment benefits during Covid-19 (from CNBC) - “This situation is very new,” said Sarah Hymowitz, chief attorney at Legal Services of New Jersey, who represents low-income clients in unemployment matters. “We’ve never had this level of intensity.”

11/18/20: Tenants rights in a pandemic: Morristown legal group offers advice for avoiding eviction, post-COVID (from Morristown Green) - "What we do is offer legal advice and representation to those who are economically challenged in Morris County,” Saltzman explained. “When in doubt, we would ask you to come to us, call us, ask us questions, bring your legal issues to us.”

11/18/20: New Jersey Families Celebrate Reunions After Foster Care (from The Imprint) - New Jersey families gathered online Tuesday for a unique celebration of those that avoided separation by the child welfare system.

10/27/20: Legal Services Newsletter Focuses on the State’s Own Health Insurance Marketplace Program

10/09/20: Murphy asks NJ utilities to extend coronavirus shutoff moratorium (from the Asbury Park Press) - With a moratorium on electric, natural gas and water shutoffs due to end on Thursday, Gov. Phil Murphy said he would ask the state's utilities to extend it further.

10/05/20: Legal Services Newsletter Focuses on Domestic Violence Restraining Orders for Abused Victims

09/08/20: Legal Services Newsletter Focuses on New Jersey’s Move to Mainly Mail Voting

08/31/20: NJ’s ‘clean slate’ expungement opening doors more in pandemic (from NJ101.5) - "This is the most substantial — both in terms of expanded eligibility and improved process — reform to the expungement law I've seen in a decade of doing this work," said Akil Roper, vice president of Legal Services of New Jersey, and its chief counsel for reentry.

08/27/20: Expungment reform opens doors and brings hope to many more in New Jersey.

08/11/20: Amid Pandemic, Congress Considers Giving Parents More Time to Reunify with Kids in Foster Care (from The Imprint) - Bill supporter Jeyanthi Rajaraman, who is a colleague of Hammons’ representing parents in court as chief counsel for Legal Services of New Jersey, said the legislation would remove concerns that federal funding could be in jeopardy if parental rights aren’t terminated.

07/31/20: Virtual Hearings Have Created a ‘Caste System’ in America’s Courts (from The Appeal) - Precautions meant to minimize the spread of COVID-19—like remote hearings by video conferencing—have drastically changed the way people experience the judicial process, leaving some at a distinct disadvantage.

07/30/20: Was a landlord’s eviction in violation of Murphy’s executive order? (from NJTV)

07/30/20: Judiciary Initiative Provides Outreach for Landlords and Tenants During Health Crisis (from the Cape May County Herald) - The New Jersey Judiciary has launched an initiative to provide landlords and tenants with information about court operations, as well as available services and community resources during the COVID-19 health crisis.

07/29/20: N.J. legal aid program helped more immigrant detainees get released, report finds (from WHYY) - Backers of a two-year-old New Jersey program that provides free legal aid to people in federal immigration detention say it is working, after the rate of release skyrocketed among detainees who had a pro bono attorney.

07/29/20: Legal Services Newsletter Focuses on the Federal Eviction Law Moratorium

07/27/20: Tenants fear evictions, advocates say know your rights (NJTV)—“Right now, landlord-tenant trials are suspended. You don’t have to leave. Please, do not leave,” said Essex-Newark Legal Services Deputy Director Jose Ortiz.

07/19/20: Freeholder Board Approves President Brendan W. Gill Request for an Increase in Legal Services Grant to Undocumented Detainees (from InsiderNJ) - With one year of experience working with this process, and an additional $150,000 of funding, each organization feels positive that improvements will be made in the services they provide. Raquiba Huq of Legal Services of New Jersey stated, “We have been able to give very thorough and extensive legal advice to the (ECCF) detainees. There is always more work to be done, that’s why we really appreciate the increase (in funding) and the commitment and dedication from the county in allowing us to do this.”

07/13/20: NJ Could Face “Tidal Wave” Of Evictions If Rent Relief Stalls (from Gothamist) - Although New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has issued an indefinite moratorium on evictions, and the housing courts have suspended trials, landlords have still filed more than 15,000 eviction cases in the last three months, Gothamist/WNYC found.

07/01/20: Renters fear ending up homeless when public health emergency ends (from NJTV) - Jose Ortiz works for Essex Newark Legal Services and offers free legal assistance to low-income families. He says he hears similar cries for help since the pandemic began, like a landlord trying to get sex in exchange for rent.

06/13/20: Tenants Behind on Rent in Pandemic Face Harassment, Eviction (from US News and World Report) - The coronavirus pandemic has shut housing courts and prompted most states and federal authorities to initiate policies protecting renters from eviction.

06/08/20: Legal Services Newsletter Focuses on Temporarily Delaying Mortgage Payments and Foreclosure During the Pandemic

06/05/20: Bracing for Onslaught of Domestic Violence Cases, Area Legal Experts Say COVID-19 is Putting Victims at a Disadvantage (from TAP into Newark) - As New Jersey moved into the peak of COVID-19 in April, a Newark woman, escaping a savage attack from her boyfriend one night during the statewide stay-at-home order, ran from her apartment into the street and flagged down a police car.


Statement of Legal Services of New Jersey Concerning Government and Vigilante
Perpetrated Violence Against People of Color

Ms. Breonna Taylor of Kentucky. Mr. George Floyd of Minnesota. Mr. Ahmaud Arbery of Georgia. Mr. Tony McDade of Florida. Mr. James Scurlock of Nebraska. Mr. David McAtee of Kentucky. Murdered.

Among many oppressed cultures in America it is a sign of respect and honor to call people by their full given names, although some do not do so after passing. We do so to bear witness, respect, remember, remind, educate and ultimately press to terminate such violence and murders.

For 54 years Legal Services in New Jersey has worked to combat all forms of discrimination, be it based on skin color, ethnicity, gender and gender preference, disability, age or any other invidious ground, and to secure economic and social justice for all disadvantaged, oppressed and vulnerable people. This work is carried out by all Legal Services staff, every day, in every part of this state.

It is from this experience and on this record that LSNJ, the coordinating agency for the state’s Legal Services system, on behalf of that system condemns in the strongest possible terms the murders of those named above, and the thousands upon thousands, and from a multi-century perspective millions upon millions, of those who are black, brown, and every other hue of skin or personal characteristic that leads to people being targeted as “other”.

Our staff and volunteers will continue to attack every form of such discrimination and violence in their daily work, and in their private lives. As an organization we will reject and resist those voices that encourage, or condone, or apologize for, or seek to legitimize such activity. And we urge all New Jersey residents to observe, bear witness, and demand that such discrimination and violence end now, finally and forever. Say their names.

Melville D. Miller, Jr., President

05/28/20: Limited Technology Access Prevents Kids in the Child Welfare System from Connecting with Parents (from - Lack of access to technology “hits on so many different levels for child welfare clients,” says Jeyanthi Rajaraman, chief counsel of the Family Representation Project at Legal Services of New Jersey. She describes clients having technical issues throughout every facet of the system, including visitations, accessing health care, fulfilling services, and participating in court hearings.

“The clients...struggling with medical appointments and internet access and visits and housing vouchers are all people of color, and two of them are Spanish speaking without [legal immigration] status,” adds Rajaraman.

05/08/20: Legal Services Newsletter Highlights Unemployment, Family Leave, Food Stamps Benefits Available During The Pandemic

04/29/20: As Unemployment Mounts During COVID-19, Newark Renters Are Also Contending with Illegal Evictions (from Tap into Newark)

04/29/20: A Parent’s Ally: Providing “A Bridge” for Parents in Early Legal Representation (from Rise Magazine) - Parent advocates have an essential impactful role in providing effective legal representation to protect parents’ rights, prevent family separation and support parents involved with the child welfare system. Here, Iesha Hammons, the Parent Ally at Legal Services of New Jersey, explains how she supports parents, why she does this work, the challenges of being a Parent Ally and how she takes care of herself in the role.

04/29/20: Protecting Families from Poverty—and CPS: How Early Legal Representation is Working in New Jersey (from RISE magazine) - Parents struggling to provide for their children are often surprised to learn that gaps in basic care caused by poverty can result in allegations of neglect and child removal. Parents struggling with lack of adequate housing or poverty need access to resources and support, not an intrusive child welfare investigation, mandated services, or separation.

04/08/20: Legal Services of New Jersey launches program for victims enslaved by human trafficking (from - Legal Services of New Jersey (LSNJ), based in Edison, has launched a major new statewide initiative to provide civil legal aid for victims in the Garden State enslaved by human traffickers and forced to do work or perform sex against their will.

04/08/20: COVID-19 Behind Bars: Will Releasing At-Risk Inmates, Select Others Keep Lid on Potential Crisis? (from - Official figures for COVID-19 cases in prison include 67 staffers and five inmates, but troubling questions about the accuracy of both counts are being raised.

04/08/20: Legal Services Newsletter Focuses on Income Limits for NJ FamilyCare Programs and Time Limits for some Food Stamp Recipients

04/08/20: Coronavirus in NJ: Hard-hit renters look for government aid, landlord flexibility, even weigh rent strikes (from The Asbury Park Press) - While those who are being hit financially by the coronavirus are getting some relief on their bills — with moratoriums on everything from mortgage payments to auto loans — renters like Russo remain stuck in a burden many cannot meet.

03/31/20: Legal Services Launches Program for Victims Enslaved by Human Trafficking

02/19/20: Latest Legal Services Newsletter Focuses on Expungement Reforms, Federal Income Tax Returns

02/13/20: How can pre-petition legal representation help strengthen families and keep them together? (from Casey Family Programs) - Too often, children enter or linger in foster care because their parents are struggling with poverty-related issues, including substandard housing, or because they lack the resources for legal counsel to resolve civil or criminal matters, such as custody or protection orders, that could facilitate child safety. These poverty-induced issues do not equal neglect or warrant separating children from their families.

01/13/20: Governor Murphy Signs Legislation Mandating Comprehensive Disclosure and Transparency Requirements for Civil Asset Forfeiture (from - Governor Phil Murphy today signed legislation (S1963) mandating comprehensive disclosure and transparency requirements for the system of civil asset forfeiture.

× Say Their Names